What I like about Blogging U is that it encourages me to do things that I may never have thought of doing before. Now collaborating with another writer was an optional suggestion but since my mantra at the moment is to “welcome challenge and see where it leads” I thought I need to make an effort.
Rather than reach out to a complete stranger though, I found an easier way, that for me was to approach somebody that I already knew and trusted. I met Lesley through a self-development group I attended where writing, amongst other creative things, was used as a medium to explore our lives. As an off-shoot of that, Lesely started a writers’ support group which I also go to. Lesley is a playwright and has a short play being performed in Glasgow next week.
I asked Lesley if she minded being interviewed, and she agreed despite being rushed off her feet with the play. I asked her three questions by email and here are her answers.
Why do you write?
Firstly I write because it’s fun and it allows me to play . I love telling stories, creating characters and seeing where they go and what they do.I also write to try to make sense of the world, my internal world and the world around me. In my personal journals I write to make sense of me, to see, hear and try to understand myself better.In my plays I suppose I do the same with the characters I create. I try to find a way of giving a voice to those who might not otherwise be heard, or not heard in that way. Some of my plays are taken from my own life experiences, sometimes words that cannot be spoken can be written and with playwriting they then can be spoken by others (actors). This can be both terrifying and deeply healing.I think I chose to write plays because I’ve always had an interest in who we are, what we think, feel, do-what makes us tick and in theatre I get to play with this.
How do you write?
My journals I always write by hand in a specific size ‘jotter’-with a preferred pen, yes a bit obsessive! This is a stream of conscious process, writing not thinking and certainly not editing.My plays tend always to be written on screen. I start with an idea for a story and will do a lot of free writing trying to find the voice of my characters, allowing them to say whatever they want without editing them, interrupting them or stopping them. I then filter through that highlighting what I think is useful. All the characters need to be fully formed, real people with histories, relationships. And so I also create back stories for them (lifes stories) which I write out freehand without editing. Some of these back stories then filter into the moment when the play is set and often inform the intention of the dialogue of each character…ie what is it they want, why do they want it and why do they want it now in this moment.And the edit edit edit!
Competition is one of the big challenges in trying to have your work produced, there are a lot of excellent writers out there and only space for a few to be produced. Theatres must balance the books and so need to fill seats and new writing is a gamble that doesn’t guarantee income. Many theatres support new writing by presenting readings and productions of short plays, this is a good way of presenting work to industry professionals and is also an opportunity to have words on the page come to life.What might read well on the page doesn’t always translate to stage. Creating plays is a collaborative process that involves handing over my work to others to interpret and perform, this in itself can be extremely challenging, however allowing others to play with my words can often bring new perspectives. Seeing my work performed by professional actors and interpreted by other artists; musicians, designers, directors, is incredibly exciting. Seeing my writing come alive, my characters breathe, move and speak out loud is magical.